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Migration of file formats: understanding loss and how to manage it

This is an online course focusing on File Format Migration, presented as a VLE, including demos of how migration tools work on test documents. The course is taught by a mix of slides, reading, participatory exercises, and live demos on the screen.

Migration causes loss. When we change a file from one format to another, we’re introducing profound changes to the data, and the way that data gets presented to us. Even when we think it’s succeeded, there are changes underneath the surface that might be problematic for us. 

Since this loss is inevitable, you need to plan for it. One way of looking at your preservation strategy is that you are planning for loss caused by migration. How can we identify it, what is causing it, how much of a hit are we prepared to accept?

If you attend this course you will:

• Understand better the risks of file format migration

• Be equipped to build your own set of acceptance criteria

• Learn about current best practice in migration and selection of file formats

• Be equipped to make your own selections for suitable file formats

• Gain confidence about using file format tools yourself

• Be equipped to make your own selections for suitable migration tools

• Be able to make migration decisions based on visual checks of files and documents

• Better understand how tools work, and their limitations

• Understand the importance of embedded properties in files

• Learn how you can view embedded properties in files, and become aware of tools that help with this

• See the consequences of the loss of embedded properties

• Learn some simple expedient measures for loss mitigation

• Feel more confident in establishing migration workflows that are suitable for your collections